….and we’re back for Round 2! This review will contain spoilers for Crave (book 1) and definitely spoilers for itself. Please read the first review, then come back here
After the death of her parents in a car accident, Grace is sent to Alaska to live with her only remaining family: an uncle and his daughter, Macy. Grace is now tasked with finishing her last two years of his school at the exclusive and elusive Katmere Academy. While enrolled at Katmere Academy, Grace (somehow) ends up in the path of resident bad boy and untouchable, Jaxon Vega. The two start to talk and spend time together, exchanging terrible dad-jokes and movie references. Eventually, after receiving a very telling gift (a copy of Twilight) from Jaxon, Grace puts the pieces together….
…and deduces that Jaxon is a vampire. Since the cat is out of the bag, everyone else that Grace has befriended begins to comes clean too: Macy’s a witch, her boyfriend, Cole, is a shifter that takes the form of a wolf (not a werewolf, no full moon required). Flint is a dragon, Uncle Finn is a warlock, and Lia is a witch too.
A botched attempted sacrifice renders Lia dead (good riddance), Jaxon incapacitated, Flint begging for forgiveness, and Grace…encapsulated in stone.
All caught up? Good good. So back to Lia and Flint for a second. Lia was trying to use Grace as a human sacrifice to bring back her smarmy British onetime boyfriend, the UBB (Unknown Big Bad). We’ll eventually learn that the UBB is indeed Hudson Vega — older brother to Jaxon and guy who’s soul has somehow latched on to Grace. Originally, Hudson was supposed to possess Jaxon, but seeing as Grace was the only person awake and retaining most of her mental faculties at the time, Hudson jumped into the wrong body.
Instead of outing Hudson to the masses immediately, Grace listens to the Hudson in her head and keeps him as her little secret. Things are going fine — witty banter between the two of them fills out the bulk of this tome. Jaxon notices something is off about his girlfriend, but he just can’t put his finger on it…
Jaxon and Grace go to see the Bloodletter* and she tells them that the Unkillable Beast is the key to solving all of their current problems. Yay. Time for a road trip. Turns out the Unkillable Beast is a gargoyle, like Grace. She can hear him in her head when she nearby and in danger.
Now, friends, sometime nearish to this point, Grace reveals that Hudson has been co-opting her body since she came out of rock form. Obviously everyone is upset, but Jaxon most of all. He finally understands why Grace has been acting so weird around him, but he’s upset because (in his opinion) Hudson is still a bad guy who needs to be eliminated.
Flint brings word to the friends that this year’s Ludares Tournament is approaching, and hey, there’s enough of us to make a team, so we should totally do that! And so the crew does. The prize this year (offered by Cyrus, the Vampire King) is a seat on the Council of the Paranormals. Since Grace is the first gargoyle born in over 100 years, suddenly the Gargoyle Court can have a seat at the table.
Cyrus is actually the Ultimate Mega Big Huge Bad Guy™. The reason that Hudson killed people in the past was because it was (in his mind) the only way to protect those people and the rest of paranormal-kind from Cyrus’s plans. Not being one to be on-upped or taken advantage of, Cyrus has gathered his own team of Katmere students to play the game of Ludares but with the highest stakes there can be: Grace’s life. Also, Grace has to go against Cyrus’ team alone. By herself. With no help.
Grace, Hudson, and the crew find out a way to extract Hudson from Grace’s body and give him one of his own. Its become too risky for the two to remain entwined in one body. Grace and Hudson know each other so well that they often don’t even have to talk to convey their thoughts, even after Hudson gains a corporeal (flesh and blood) body. They have inside jokes. Cute little friend memories. Jaxon does not approve, especially seeing as Grace is his mate and Hudson should be dead, or at least arrested and brought to the Vampire Court to stand trial for crimes against
humanity err…paranormal kind…?
Remember that asterisk that was by the Bloodletter? Well, she gave Jaxon a spell to break his and Grace’s mating bond. He was planning to use it, at one point, but after getting to know Grace better, he decided against it and threw the paper with the spell on it in the trash where it was recovered by Cole, Macy’s boyfriend and player for Cyrus’s team.
Long story short, Grace and Jaxon’s mating bond is broken like 2 seconds before she’s set to enter the Ludares arena to go against Cyrus’ cronies. I won’t bore you with details of every single attack that Grace trades with the other team, but (eventually) Main Character Plot Armor™ comes to the rescue and saves Grace from dying. The crew embraces her and Hudson and Jaxon square up over the girl they’ve both come to care for. The book ends with a spectacular cliffhanger line from one of the brothers:
Could you please take your hands off my mate?
Overall, book 2 was just as good as the first! I really enjoy Wolff’s style of writing — there were definitely times I had read over 100 pages in one sitting, and didn’t even notice because the writing is so fluid and smooth. I am a huge fan of the series, and I am waiting with bated breath for the closing installment: Court, set for release in September 2021.
New York Times Best Selling author Tracy Wolff is a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. A onetime English professor, she now devoted all her time to writing dark and romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all of her sixty-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family. For more about Tracy’s books and to see what she’s up to, visit tracywolffauthor.com or find her on Instagram at tracywolffbooks!